A new study suggests that painkillers prescribed for pets could possibly contribute to the opioid crisis in the world. WE.

The study, led by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, was released Friday. Jama Network Open. He "reviewed all the opioid pills and patches issued or prescribed for dogs, cats and other small animals" at the University's School of Veterinary Medicine from January 2007 to December 2017, press release on the results of this study. I said.

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More specifically, researchers examined four opioids – tramadol, hydrocodone, codeine tablets and fentanyl patches – prescribed mainly to dogs and cats and a small percentage to rabbits, snakes and birds.

During this period, the researchers found that "the amount of these prescriptions, measured in milligram equivalents of morphine (MME), had increased by 41%", while the number of annual visits increased by only 13%.

"We are seeing that the epidemic of opioids continues to rage, we are identifying other possible avenues of human consumption and abuse," said Jeanmarie Perrone, lead author of the program. study, professor of emergency medicine and director of medical toxicology at Penn Medicine. .

"Even if the vet wishes it well, the increase in the number of veterinary opioids prescribed may mean an increased risk of misuse of pills eventually by household members, selling or misappropriating , or endangering young children by involuntary exposure. The results of this study suggest that by evaluating the prescription rate of veterinary opioids, we can develop strategies to reduce the risks to human and animal health associated with increasing use, "added Perrone.

In other words, the findings suggest "that the large and increasing volume of opioids prescribed in a veterinary teaching hospital brings to light concerns parallel to those regarding excessive prescribing of opioids in humans, "says the study.

Some states, such as Maine and Colorado, require veterinarians to check the owner's opioid prescription history before they can draft their pet's order, while 20 states "now require veterinarians to record their opioid prescriptions in a central database, just like doctors do," the press release said.

"We found that the increase in the amount of opioids prescribed by our hospital was not solely due to the increase in patient volume. It is likely that our goal of ensuring that our patients do not experience any postoperative pain, particularly for patients requiring complex and invasive procedures, has led to an increase in our prescribing practices during this period, "said Dana Clarke, senior author in Interventional Radiology at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, said in the press release.

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That said, "we do not know the potential or the scale of the prescription drug transfer to humans, nor its impact on the human opioid crisis" at the national level, Clarke said.

In 2017, nearly 70% of the 70,200 people Overdose of drugs the deaths involved an opioid, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In the same year, the number of overdose deaths from an opioid was six times higher than in 1999.